A number of public meetings have been called by Democratic members of Congress this week to discuss "health care." It would be interesting to know just how motivated these lawmakers are to address health care as a critical issue facing the nation compared to their desire to use health care as an issue to try to defeat George Bush in the coming presidential election.
Proper health care is a hot topic and one that affects almost every American. The cost of health care is an issue that is drawing more and more attention.
Democrats realize there are millions of votes available from people who are frightened by the soaring cost of medicine and that Democratic Party members might be able to capture a good percentage of these votes if they can suggest whether or not it is practical, economical or workable some way to make quality health care available to more people at less cost.
Also, it is a good bet that if and when any Democratic member of Congress is pinned down on the question of how this increased, better care is going to be paid for, it will be suggested that business and the government pick up a larger share of the cost. In this case, "the government" translates into "taxpayers," and it is a sure bet this added tax load would be placed on the shoulders of business and larger individual taxpayers.
Those trying to ride the health care issue for more votes are not likely to suggest everyone is going to have to pay more for health care. That might cost them some votes.
Rep. Jim Slattery sent letters to numerous media types inviting them to attend one or more of his public meetings this week to hear and discuss health care issues.
In this letter, he stated, "I believe we must confront health care reform in a fiscally responsible manner. We should not overpromise. Everyone should understand how they will have to contribute in order for health care reform to be financed. Before I select a particular proposal to endorse, I want to be sure you know how it will be paid for and what your role in paying for it will be. Without this kind of discussion, I do not believe we can reasonably or fairly understand the full impact of health care reform."
One of this country's more knowledgeable individuals working on the health care issue and a person who has been meeting with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers on this issue had this to say when shown a copy of Slattery's letter:
"This paragraph (the one quoted above) attests to the fact that Congressman Slattery has absolutely no concept of what the problem is. There is no need to pay more money for health care. In fact, we ought to pay less. He is caught up in the frenzy of how to figure out another innovative way to buy an Edsel which costs $122,000, has square wheels, gets two miles per gallon and goes in the repair shop once a week."
This observer continues, "What Jim Slattery and the overwhelming majority of Congress do not understand is that the problem is not with payment, or even the uninsured, as he quotes in his third paragraph. The problem is we have a crappy product that is ill-designed, manufactured poorly, marketed and distributed terribly, and it is this problem which must be corrected. It will do no good whatsoever to figure out another innovative way to pay for the same old, flawed product."
The cost of health care has soared, but it should be remembered the excellence of health care also has improved. New medical advances are keeping people alive and well longer than in previous generations. This, however, does not soften the higher and higher costs for health care. Truly, something needs to be done to make health care more efficient.
Any reasonable individual is concerned about health care costs and the availability of health services, and a good majority of those in Congress are genuinely interested in this serious problem.
Nevertheless, it's also true that Democrats are looking for any issue they can use to damage, weaken and defeat Bush, and health care is one of the current hot topics. Democrats will ride and use this issue every way possible to try to win votes in the upcoming November election. Slattery said as much in his Wednesday night meeting at Kansas University. He said health care should be the main issue of the '92 presidential campaign.
It shouldn't come as any surprise when Slattery starts telling his audiences that Democrats have a far better plan to provide better health care at lower prices than does George Bush and his fellow Republicans.
It's a sensitive issue that touches everyone, one way or another, and the approximately 200 health care meetings conducted across the country by Democrats in the U.S. House is the best possible proof it will be used and manipulated to the utmost in trying to attract voters in the November elections.